Rodger was very clear about the reasoning behind his violence. In a video posted online before the shooting, he says:
“For the last eight years of my life, ever since I hit puberty, I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires. All because girls have never been attracted to me. Girls gave their affection and sex and love to other men, but never to me. I’m 22-years-old and still a virgin. I’ve never even kissed a girl. I’ve been through college, for two and a half years, more than that actually, and I’m still a virgin. It has been very torturous.
College is the time when everyone experiences those things such as sex and fun and pleasure. But in those years I’ve had to rot in loneliness. It’s not fair. You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me. But I will punish you all for it. It’s an injustice, a crime because I don’t know what you don’t see in me.”
This is male entitlement. You’re looking at it.
Rodger was so enraged that he had not been given that which he deserves, as a man — sexual access to women — that he killed.
In a world wherein men learn they not only deserve, but have the right to women’s bodies, Rodger’s behaviour isn’t really all that surprising. From the time they are young, boys are offered women’s bodies. They are provided with pornography, told that this is what women are for: your eyes, your pleasure, your dick.
Men and boys learn that what they want, they should have. That their every fantasy should be fulfilled. That prostitution even exists is proof of this message. That we live in a rape culture and a porn culture is further proof. What exactly did we think would come of telling men that sex is a right? That women owe it to them?
My dear friend, Elizabeth Pickett, wrote, of Rodger: “Real women failed to live up to the expectations created for him by pornography. So he killed some.” We offer men this fantasy — it’s no wonder they become enraged when women don’t perform as expected.
You’d think that the logical conclusion of all of this would be clear: male entitlement begets male entitlement.
Of course people only see what they want to see.
Numerous people appear to have come the entirely backwards conclusion that more prostitution is the solution. Of course! What could possibly be a better cure for male entitlement than more male entitlement! What could possibly be a better cure for male violence than more male violence! If we tell men their dicks are the number one priority, maybe they’ll stop thinking their dicks are the number one priority! Right? Right.
Behold the insanity:
Logic, you guys! If we legalize men’s right to access women’s bodies, surely their sense of entitlement to said bodies will dissipate!
Elliot Rodger thought he deserved to be treated like a god.
“I’ll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I am in truth, the superior one. The true alpha male. [Laughs.] Yes. After I’ve annihilated every single girl in the sorority house, I’ll take to the streets of Isla Vista and slay every single person I see there. All those popular kids who live such lives of hedonistic pleasure while I’ve had to rot in loneliness for all these years, they’ve all looked down upon me every time I’ve tried to go out and join them. All treated me like a mouse. Well now I will be a god compared to you. You’ll all be animals. You are animals, and I will slaughter you like animals. I’ll be a god exacting my retribution on all those who deserve it. And you do deserve it. Just for the crime of living a better life than me.”
Of course he did. Porn teaches men they are gods. Pop culture teaches men that the epitome of success is to be surrounded by naked women, fawning over you. Prostitution exists because we, as a culture, very much believe that women exist to pleasure men. We tell women that they have to “work” in marriage, to keep their men happy, to keep them from straying — buy sexy lingerie, try threesomes, try anal, perform every porn fantasy he has — he needs it, he deserves it, it is your job.
We can continue to skirt around these truths — that the sex industry and our patriarchal culture breed men like Rodger — but expect more violence, more deaths, more rape, and more abuse. Our world is rife with Elliot Rodgers. We create them every day. They aren’t going anywhere.